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Understand money and return on investment

Investing is a powerful tool for growing wealth and achieving financial goals. By putting your money into various assets, you can potentially earn profitable returns on investment and keep up with rising prices. This comprehensive guide aims to provide beginners with a detailed understanding of investments, including the types of assets, potential returns, associated risks, the importance of diversification, and insights into mutual funds.

What are Investments? 

Investments are financial vehicles that you purchase or put your money into with the expectation of earning a profitable return. To effectively manage your investments, it is crucial to understand the different types of investments available:

Shares: Investing in shares means buying a stake in a company. As a shareholder, you have the potential to benefit from the company’s growth, profitability, and dividend distributions.

Cash: Cash investments involve depositing your savings in a bank or building society account. While cash investments provide security, they may offer limited growth potential compared to other investment types.

Property: Property investments entail purchasing physical buildings, such as residential or commercial properties. They can generate rental income and appreciate in value over time.

Bonds: Bonds are debt instruments issued by companies or governments. When you invest in bonds, you are essentially loaning money to the issuer in exchange for regular interest payments and the return of the principal amount at maturity.

Investment returns

Returns represent the profits earned from investments. Understanding the different ways investments generate returns is crucial for making informed decisions:

Dividends: Shares often provide returns in the form of dividends. These are a portion of the company’s profits distributed to shareholders, usually on a regular basis.

Rent: Property investments generate returns through rental income received from tenants. The rental yield depends on factors such as location, property type, and market demand.

Interest: Cash deposits and fixed interest securities offer returns in the form of interest payments. The interest rate is determined by prevailing market conditions and the creditworthiness of the issuer.

Capital Gains or Losses: Investments in shares, property, or bonds can experience changes in value over time. Selling an investment at a higher price than the purchase price leads to capital gains, while selling at a lower price than the purchase price results in capital losses.

How to manage Investment Risks 

Investing always involves a certain level of risk. Understanding and managing these risks effectively is essential for successful investing:

Inflation Risk: One risk is that the interest rate on secure deposits may not keep up with inflation, causing the value of your money to erode over time. To combat this risk, consider investing in assets that have historically outpaced inflation, such as stocks or real estate.

Market Risk: Stock market investments come with the risk of price fluctuations. Economic factors, market sentiment, and company-specific news can impact stock prices. It’s important to diversify your portfolio and invest for the long term to mitigate market risk.

Currency Risk: Investing in foreign securities exposes you to the risk of adverse currency movements. Fluctuations in exchange rates can impact the returns when converting foreign investments back into your local currency.

Liquidity Risk: Some investments may lack a liquid secondary market, making it challenging to sell them quickly without potentially incurring a loss. It is important to consider the liquidity of an investment and have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions before investing.

When to Start Investing 

If you have sufficient savings to cover three to six months of expenses and are looking for long-term growth, it’s a good time to consider investing. Factors such as your financial situation, risk tolerance, and future goals play a crucial role in determining the right investments for you. Seeking advice from a regulated financial advisor can provide valuable guidance tailored to your specific needs and help you determine the appropriate time to start investing.

What to consider before making investment decisions

Below are ten things to consider before making your investment decisions:

  1. Draw a personal financial roadmap
  2. Evaluate your comfort zone in taking on risk
  3. Consider an appropriate mix of investments
  4. Be careful if investing heavily in shares of employer’s stock or any individual stock
  5. Create and maintain an emergency fund
  6. Pay off high interest credit card debt
  7. Consider dollar cost averaging
  8. Take advantage of “free money” from employer via matching of pension contributions
  9. Consider rebalancing portfolio occasionally
  10. Avoid circumstances that can lead to fraud

Mutual Funds: A popular choice for beginners

One popular investment option for beginners is mutual funds. Mutual funds are investment funds that pool money from multiple investors and invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other assets. Here are some key benefits of investing in mutual funds:

Diversification: Mutual funds offer instant diversification by investing in a variety of securities. This diversification helps spread the risk and reduce the impact of individual security fluctuations on the overall portfolio. By investing in different sectors, industries, and regions, mutual funds aim to provide a balance between risk and potential return.

Professional Management: Mutual funds are managed by professional fund managers who have expertise and experience in analyzing and selecting investments. These managers conduct thorough research and actively make investment decisions on behalf of the investors. Their goal is to maximize returns while managing risk based on the fund’s investment objectives.

Liquidity: Most mutual funds offer daily pricing and redemption, allowing investors to buy or sell fund shares on any business day. This liquidity provides flexibility and easy access to your invested funds, unlike certain investments that may have longer lock-in periods or limited redemption options.

Affordability: Mutual funds have low investment thresholds, making them accessible to a wide range of investors. With a relatively small amount of money, individuals can participate in a diversified investment portfolio that would otherwise require a significant capital outlay.

Regulatory Oversight: Mutual funds are subject to regulatory oversight by government agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States. In Kenya the Capital Markets Authority acts as the market regulator. This oversight helps protect investors’ interests and ensures compliance with regulations, providing a level of security and transparency.


Understanding investments is crucial for maximizing returns and building wealth over time. By diversifying your portfolio, carefully managing risks, and seeking professional advice, you can make informed investment decisions. 

Remember to align your investments with your financial goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. Whether you choose individual stocks, bonds, real estate, or mutual funds, regular review and adjustment of your investment strategy are key to staying on track towards achieving your financial objectives. 

Start early, stay disciplined, and keep learning to unlock the potential of investments and secure your financial future.

Photo sourse: freepik

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